Kuala Lumpur or KL as it is often called is the Federal capital of Malaysia. It is a vibrant city where modern skyscrapers mix with heritage buildings to give this city a charm of its own. There are many shopping malls, restaurants, entertainment centres , museum and amusement parks in this exciting city. KL is packed with adventures and the visitor can enjoy endless shopping as this city is a shoppers’ paradise. This bustling metropolis is full of history and has managed to combine the old and the new to make it one of the most visited cities in Asia. Kuala Lumpur is a melting pot of cultures where one can experience the customs, traditions, food and lifestyle of the different races in Malaysia.
Many of the iconic tourist attractions are located within the city and are easily accessible by public transport. Kuala Lumpur has an extensive rail transport system which links the major parts of the city. They are the KL Monorail, KTM Komuter, Putra, MRT and STAR Light Rail Transits. ( LRT). These services are punctual, frequent , comfortable and time saving. Coin tokens can be purchased at the vending machines at these stations, frequent travelers can purchase weekly and monthly passes. There are feeder bus services from the train stations to certain designated areas. Taxis are easily available in Kuala Lumpur and are based on a metered rate, many taxis can be found outside the train stations.
Visitors can visit the tourist attractions by using the KL Hop-on Hop-off Coach Tours. Tourists can see over 40 places of interest in Kuala Lumpur in this semi-glass roofed coach. You can take your time to enjoy the sights by staying on board for the full circuit tour or hop on or off at any of the 23 designated stops. Tickets for the bus tour can be purchased online, on the bus or at any of the authorized agents. The tours start from 8.30am to 8.30pm daily and come with on-board commentary in nine different languages.
There are many types of accommodation available here, to suit the visitor’s budget and preference. Resorts, Five-star star hotels, youth hostels, serviced apartments and even low budget hotels are choices available to the visitors.
SULTAN ABDUL SAMAD BUILDING
Built in 1897, this stately building was named after the State Ruler at that time and served as an administrative centre during the British era. It is one of the most iconic landmarks in Kuala Lumpur, constructed entirely of brick in the Mahometan or Neo-Saracenic style. Some of the features in this remarkable building are horseshoe-shaped arches, an imposing porch, curved colonnades topped with shiny copper cupolas and a 41.2 m-high clock tower. This building used to house the British Offices and the superior courts of Malaysia, Federal Court of Malaysia, Court of Appeals and the High Court of Malaya before they moved to their current location at Putrajaya. Currently, it houses the offices of the Ministry of Information, Communications and Culture Of Malaysia. This historical building provides a spectacular sight when it is lighted up at night. It is often used as the backdrop for important functions like the National Day Parade and for ushering in the New Year.
DATARAN MERDEKA (MERDEKA SQUARE )
This square is directly opposite the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and is one of the most significant landmarks in the history of Malaysia. This is the site where the Union Jack was lowered and the Malaysian flag was raised on 31st August 1957, marking Malaysia’s independence from the British rule. In the square is a 100 metres flagpole which is recognized as one of the tallest in the world, flying the Malaysian flag. It is also the venue for many important national events like the National Day celebrations, New Year countdown and for holding street parades. Merdeka Square is a beautifully landscaped area with well- maintained gardens, fountains and terraces. There is also a huge TV screen which provides live telecasts and screening of important events.
PETRONAS TWIN TOWERS
The Petronas Twin Towers is one of the most famous icons of Malaysia and is constructed of steel and glass. Standing at a height of 451.9 metres, it is the world’s tallest twin structure and the world’s highest 2- storey bridge. The skybridge is on the 41st floor while the Viewing Deck is on the 86th floor. This 88-storey building is the centre piece of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre or KLCC. There is a shopping mall, landscaped park, fountains, convention centre, aquarium and hotels in KLCC.
KL Tower, standing at 421 metres tall is one of the most iconic landmark in Kuala Lumpur. It is the 7th tallest freestanding tower in the world. This prominent tower is located on top of Bukit Nanas and is a telecommunications and broadcasting tower. There is an observation deck which provides a panoramic view of the city. In the tower is a revolving restaurant where the visitors can have a 360° view of Kuala Lumpur’s skyline while enjoying their food. At the upper ground floor, there are shops, fast food restaurant, public toilets and a mini-theatre. A fast speed elevator will take you to the observation deck where there is also a souvenir shop where you can purchase gifts to take home with you.
image credit: Phalim Ooi
KL BUTTERFLY PARK
The Butterfly Park was created to have a rainforest environment to resemble the natural surroundings of the butterflies. There are ferns, beautiful flowers and trees with the butterflies flying around them. It is over 80,000 sq. ft and is one of the largest butterfly gardens in the world. It is home to over 5,000 butterflies from more than 120 species. Some famous butterflies here include the Malay Lacewing, Raja Brooke and the Yellow Tip. The park takes an active role in conservation and there is a nursery and breeding centre here. Also seen here are insects, koi fish and fresh water turtles.
The KL Bird Park is the largest bird park in Southeast Asia and spans over 20.9 acres of land. It is reputed to have one of the world’s largest free-flight walk-in aviary and has thousands of birds in it. There are over 3,000 birds, of about 200 local as well as foreign species here. The park is divided into 4 zones. Zones 1-3 are the areas where the birds are allowed to roam free with the free-flight concept while there are mini aviaries and caged birds in Zone 4. Some species to look out for are the Bird of Paradise, Rhinoceros Hornbill, Crowned Pigeon and the Indian Blue Peacock with its’ stunning 5-feet train. Other places of interest here are the Flamingo Pond, Hornbill Park and the Waterfall Aviary.
One of the highlights of the bird park is the Flamingo Pond where these graceful flamingos can be seen wading in the beautifully landscaped pond. Pelicans with their large bills can also be seen here. The Hornbill Park has been landscaped to resemble a tropical rainforest where the Rhinoceros Hornbill roam freely. It is one of the largest hornbill species in the world and is easily recognized by its’ black feathers and vibrant red, orange and yellow upward-curved casque. Other types of hornbills, magpie and myna birds can be found roaming freely here.
There is an Amphitheater in Zone 4 where there are Bird Shows at 12.30pm and 3.30pm daily. Also in Zone 4 is the Nursery where you can learn about the many aspects of egg incubation and interact with the baby chicks and ducklings. There is also a Bird Gallery and Education Centre at the Bird Park where visitors can learn more about the many aspects of bird life.
You can have your meal at the Hornbill Restaurant & Café which has a wide selection of local and western menu. There are also many kiosks in the Bird Park where the visitor can buy drinks, ice creams, snacks and sandwiches. There are gift shops where you can buy souvenirs to take home with you and photo booths where you can photos with some of the birds.
The Bird Park is open daily from 9am to 6pm.
To get here : KL Hop On Hop Off Tour Bus, get off at the entrance of the Bird Park. (Station No 15 )
Taxis can be hired, use those with the meter system
This 5,000 sq ft oceanarium is located at the concourse level of the Kuala Lumpur City Centre . It has over 5,000 exhibits of aquatic and land-bound animals with Sand Tiger Sharks, turtles, Blue Rays, Giant Stingrays and other unique creatures. The trail in Aquaria leads you through many different landscapes , Amazon Basin, highlands and flooded jungles of Malaysia, the sea.
At level 1, some of the exhibits include the electric catfish, elephantnose fish, piranhas and the electric eels. There is also the Gene Pool for those who would like to touch the starfish, black sea cucumbers and feel the texture of corals. One of the highlights of this aquarium is the 90-metre transparent walk-through tunnel with a moving travelator at its’ center. It is a fantastic feeling to be able to get a close up view of the marine life all around you. At the Stream, one can see otters and the giant land rat while reptiles, insects and amphibians can be seen at the Jewels of the Jungle.
The Amazon Flooded Forest is located at Level 2 where one can view the giant Araipaima, Red-Tailed Catfish while at The Coast , the exhibits include the archer fish, horseshoe crabs and other creatures. At the Oceanarium, the inhabitants include the octopus, giant fantail ray while at The Weird & Wonderful section ,one can see sea jelly. Beautiful corals, seahorses can be found at The Coral Discovery section.
Visitors can watch the special fish feeding sessions of the Araipaima which are on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at the aquarium. Visitors can check with the aquarium for the other feeding sessions. For the more adventurous visitor, the Diving with Sharks programme allows the visitor to get a close-up view of the 5 types of sharks and the other marine life in the 2.5 litre oceanarium tank.
There is also the Cage Rage programme where visitors get a look at the marine life from inside a submerged cage. For children between the ages of 6 to 13 years of age during the weekends, there is the Sleep with Sharks programme. This is a great opportunity for the kids to watch the night activities of the sharks and other creatures. There is a souvenir shop where the visitor can purchase soft toys, magnets, pearl bracelets and T-shirts.
Aquaria is open daily from 10am-8pm.
To get here : LRT-KLCC Station. / KL Hop On Hop Off tour bus
The National Museum was built in 1963 and is one of the best museums in Malaysia. This building has a Minangkabau-styled roof with two huge front murals of Italian glass mosaic portraying scenes of Malayan history and culture. The museum is located near the KL Lake Gardens and is a repository for the country’s rich cultural and historical heritage.
Besides the regular exhibits, the museum also holds regular thematic exhibitions which are very popularwith the visitors. They include World of Ghosts, World of Flowers, World Currency and Treasures from the Graves
Opening hours : 9am to 6pm daily except for Hari Raya Puasa and Hari Raya Haji
To get here : KL Hop On Hop Off Tour Bus ( Stop No 12) / Taxi KTM/ LRT/ Monorial : KL Sentral Station. Follow the pedestrian walkway, takes about 15 mins
The National Monument was built to honour those who gave up their lives in the quest for peace and freedom for the country against the Japanese Occupation during World War ll and the Communist Insurgency. This huge bronze monument is located overlooking the KL Lake Gardens and is the tallest freestanding group of bronze sculptures in the world. It was designed by Felix de Weldon and completed in 1966. He was also the creator of the well-known Iwo Jima monument in Washington DC. Every year, there is a ceremony held here to commemorate the passing of those brave soldiers. There is also a war memorial, pavilion, fountains and gardens within the grounds of the monument.
The monument portrays a group of 7 bronze soldiers, each person representing the characteristics of leadership, suffering, unity, vigilance, strength, courage and sacrifice. The center figure holds high a Malaysian flag.
Opening hours ; 7am to 5pm
To get here : KL Hop On Hop Off Tour Bus / Taxi
BOTANICAL GARDENS Perdana Botanical Gardens was previously known as the KL Lake Gardens, it is the oldest and most well- known park in Kuala Lumpur. It stretches over 200 acres of parkland which are beautifully landscaped, creating an ambiance where people enjoy jogging or practice the art of t’ai chi in the morning. There is also a childrens’ playground, jogging tracks, unique sculptures in the park. The visitor also has some interesting PERDANA sites here.
The Sunken Garden is a parterre garden with pergolas which supports the scrambler, Bauhinia Kockiana whose bright orange flowers add color to the garden. Around the garden can be found white Grecian containers with colorful flowers and there is a star-shaped fountain in the center of the garden.
In the Hibiscus Garden can be seen many types of Malaysia’s national flower, the Bunga Raya or the Hibiscus flower. There is a 4-metre high waterfall and fountains here. Inside the colonial style building is a tearoom, gallery and an exhibition hall.
The adjacent Orchid Garden consists of a rock garden for the terrestrial variety of orchids while there is a semi -circle pergola for the climbing orchids. There are about 8oo species of orchids here, with different shapes, sizes , fragrances and colours. Hybrid orchids, some of which are named after their founders can be seen at the hill top garden. Orchids can also be purchased at the Orchid Bazaar here.
Located near the Orchid Garden is the Deer Park which houses many types of deer. The Fallow Deer from Holland, Axis deer, Sambar deer and the smallest hoofed mammal in the world, the Mousedeer can be seen in the Deer Park. The visitor is allowed to feed and pet the deer, more information can be obtained from their caretakers.